Sometimes in TV news there are moments which make you do a double-take. Usually, it’s the story that catches your eye, but last night’s Midlands Today was something special because it was the reporter who made me take a second glance.
The story of Nicola Payne, the Coventry woman missing from her home for more than 20 years, was leading the bulletin and following a package on the latest developments in the hunt for her, the studio went live to a reporter on the scene.
Now, there are plenty of examples of writing for broadcasting which is bad and plenty which is clumsy, but linking the anguish of parents waiting to see if their daughter’s body had been found to the nerves England fans were experiencing in the build up to the Ukraine game was baffling, offensive and thoughtless all in one.
The moment comes about 3mins 52secs in on the BBC iPlayer for those of you who catch it before the Beeb removes all trace of this epic balls-up. But for those who don’t, here’s the transcript from Peter Wilson’s report:
“Well it’s a highly emotional day around this estate. Everyone has their England flags out and if you think about a simple football match and how millions of people are going to be watching that match, biting their finger nails, their stomachs churning. Well this family have had 20 years of hurt. In fact, Nicola’s parents John and Marilyn, have been waiting 20 years seven months and five days. They’ve had lots of false dawns, hope and bitter disappointments. Behind me, the police are looking for human remains, they are looking for Nicola’s body.”
Given some of the criticism BBC reporting has been given in recent times, it’ll be interesting to see what the response is to such a monumentally inappropriate piece of broadcasting.